Talking Points: Edward Witten on Dualities

How do we fit into our mathematical descriptions? Well, one thing I’ll tell you is that in general, when you have dualities, things that are easy to see in one description can be hard to see in the other description. So you and I, for example, are fairly simple to describe in the usual approach to physics as developed by Newton and his successors. But if there’s a radically different dual description of the real world, maybe some things physicists worry about would be clearer, but the dual description might be one in which everyday life would be hard to describe.—Edward Witten, Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, in “A Physicist’s Physicist Ponders the Nature of Reality,” Quanta Magazine, November 28, 2017,